BLACK & WHITE CANDID OF PEOPLE & ANIMALS – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s B & W Photo Challenge: Candids of People or Animals
Black & White goats
Black & White Downy Woodpecker
El Duque, the black & white menace

Cee's Black-White

 

SO HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT LINES? – Marilyn Armstrong

Coloring – In and Out of the Lines

I know it’s all the rage. I bought coloring books for my DIL for Christmas because I know she enjoys coloring.

I don’t.

I didn’t like coloring when I was a child. I preferred drawing and painting and these days, photography with doodling along page edges. I am a chronic doodler, but I don’t like anything with lines.

Cardinal

I hate lines. I hate definitions of where each color should go. I never liked coloring in OR out of the lines, so I don’t like it now, either. Sometimes, when I wonder what Garry and I share as a couple, I realize we hate being told what to do. We resent instructions, rules, and definitions.

Downy Woodpecker

Which doesn’t mean I don’t follow directions using tools or technology. I know where (so to speak) to draw that particular line. Garry doesn’t always. He will fight with me over everything.

Squirrel on flat feeder
Squirrel on the railing

He wants to do it his way.

I don’t mind him doing it his way unless it will (a) burn down the house or set the chimney on fire; (b) destroy dinner; (c) cause injury to something or someone (including himself).

Otherwise, I let him battle it out until eventually, he asks for help. At which point, I try to explain there are things where you can do as you please, but not everything.  Some stuff, usually involving electricity or technology and associated parts, you have no choice but to do the right way or it won’t work. Not even if you burn incense or pray to the gods of technology.

It’s why he’s no kind of mechanic and for the most part, neither am I.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

But, just in case it’s your thing, I’ve included five photographs using my “coloring book” filter that you can print and then color. Birds and squirrels for people who find coloring relaxing and like nature. I’m going to have to try these filters on other types of pictures. I just am afraid they will be too confusing with trees and fields.

As for me, there is reading, taking pictures, watching movies — and ultimately, sleeping!

CHANGE IS ALWAYS ON THE WAY – Marilyn Armstrong

CHANGE IS ALWAYS

If only we could find that perfect, sweet, happy place and just sink into it. Stay there and never have to deal with change again. But of course, that’s impossible, isn’t it? Because if the world doesn’t change — and it never stops — we also change too, physically and emotionally.

We find a perfect job except we run out of work or they sell to another company. We learn everything we need to know except we turn around and it’s all different and we have to relearn it.

I don’t remember where I read it, but it was a list of the things that we find most stressful. It included things like death, job loss, and many other bad things … but it also included good things. Marriage and weddings are enormous stressors. Moving, even if you choose the move, are going somewhere you want to be is a  major stressor.

All change is stressful. Whatever our personality or feelings about change, in the end, it pushes us in ways we may not like.  Are bad changes — death, dying, sickness, poverty — worse than good changes? Sure, but don’t try to explain it to your body. All it knows is the tension and stress. It doesn’t care if it’s good or bad, only that it’s hard.

I’m not sure what induced me to take on a day of this prompt. I swore I’d never go back to prompting again, I needed a bit of change that wasn’t forced on me. Something small, but which would force me into thinking about “stuff.”

These past few years have been terrifying. Considering I’ve “grown-up” with news as a major part of my world, you wouldn’t think that it would affect me so much, but it has. It turns out we — Americans — are having a bit of a national nervous breakdown. Even people who (Dog may know why) like this administration are finding it stressful. We aren’t alone. Other countries are undergoing their own stressors. Between the climate changing and the bizarre leadership shifts? It’s messy and scary.

I’ve been dealing with my particular big bad dragon — money — so I haven’t had time to dive in and see what I need to do. I’m sure I’ll work it out, but be a patient, please. On top of everything else, we’ve been having problems with Charter, all of which seem to have started when we cut the cable cord. I don’t suppose that has anything to do with it? They wouldn’t be that petty, would they?

We’re also having a lot of glitches with WordPress. I’ll do my best and hopefully, it will all work out. If not, maybe I’ll take up bungee jumping. If I’m going to stress, I might as well go all in.

DELAY WITH GUILT – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Friday: DELAY

I have not refilled the bird feeders. The birds think we are just late. Or really, yesterday they thought it must be a brief delay because the food is always there.

Goldfinch

Today, they were back. The squirrels and a wide variety of birds, trying to find a few seeds on the deck they could eat. They were like people who have just discovered the last two decent restaurants have been closed. Some of these birds and baby squirrels have possibly never eaten anywhere else.

A few Brown-headed Cowbirds

It’s pathetic, sad and I feel guilty. Even though I know I have no choice. I have to take them down, guilt or no because we need to fix the deck. I have bought special waterproof paint. My son is readying the powerwasher.

Cardinal

The birds weren’t getting much from the feeders anyway because the cohort of squirrels had taken over the feeders, the railing, and the deck and weren’t letting the birds near the feeders except during the hour or two a day when I managed to chase them away for a little while so the birds would descend and try to get some seeds.

Lady Cardinal on a branch

Apparently, there is no way for a human to balance this relationship between birds and squirrels. I thought the squirrels would like the flat feeder and the birds would prefer the tall mesh feeder. The ground feeders could clean up the pound or so of seeds we always drop while filling the feeders.

Big Red-bellied Woodpecker

Instead, the relentless pressure of squirrels against the birds never stopped. First, there was one squirrel. Then there were two. Eventually, there were squirrels everywhere. Waiting in the trees, hiding under the deck, lurking on the stairs, waiting in rows on the railings.

Mourning Dove on the rail

With each day, they became less afraid of us and I was beginning to think it was going to become of physical confrontation, something I absolutely did not want.

Tufted Titmouse

When they started announcing on the news that the recently-arrived bears were tearing down decks to get to bird feeders and began warning homeowners to take down the feeders now, my choice narrowed from very little to none at all. I can still throw some handsful of seeds onto the back lawn, but really they should remember to be wild.

Chipping Sparrow

Today, there were only a few very small (probably baby) squirrels urgently poking around hoping something edible remained. And besides the two little squirrels, there was a big red Cardinal, a few rather tiny Nuthatches (also probably babies — about half the size of full-grown Nuthatches) and a few forlorn Mourning Doves.

Rosefinch

The delay is not permanent. In the fall, as the air chills down, we’ll put the feeders up again and hopefully by then our furred and feathered friends will have forgotten us and the feeders and will start anew. We’ll have a few months before the battle to control our feeders gets fully underway.

I guess this proves once and for all that sharing is not the way of the wild.

Squirrel just holding on to the feeder cage

It seems we don’t actually have much to say about it. This is a bird and squirrel match. We watched while the flocks of Goldfinches got bullied off the feeders by the Cowbirds and woodpeckers. How the bigger woodpeckers chased away the smaller ones. And how the squirrels chased away everything that wasn’t a squirrel.

Nuthatch

And I don’t want to hang around until a black bear drops by and chases me away, too.

ONE OF A KIND: CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: 1 Item or the Number One
One Squirrel
One Rosefinch
One Cardinal
One Woodpecker
One Goldfinch
One Tulip
One Daffodil
One Cactus flower
One kitten! Photo: Garry Armstrong

MORE BIRDS – MR. AND MRS. CARDINAL WITH COWBIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong

I thought everyone was going to get tired of birds. Honestly, I thought I would get tired of the birds, but it turns out, I  find them beautiful and love having them around.

I yell at the squirrels, but I don’t mind them having a piece of the buffet. I would just prefer they not eat all of it every single day. I have switched to cheaper feed. I really couldn’t keep up the high-class buffet with such massive eating going on!

The trouble is, our squirrels are becoming less and less afraid of me. Now I have to make loud noises or they just sit there and stare back at me and I swear they are saying, “Oh yeah? And what’re you gonna do about it?”

Truthfully, not much. Make more noise? Wave the broom at them? Or, we could train them to be better trained members of our burgeoning household.

The brightest Cardinal in our garden
Mrs. Cardinal is flirting with me
Peek-a-boo!
Cowbird and Cardinal — sharing the feeder
One more Cardinal and Cowbird. The Cowbirds are not easily frightened. Only the big woodpecker -with that long beak who pecked him in the head — that got his attention
That is a beak and a half and that is also a rather large woodpecker

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER – Marilyn Armstrong

I don’t usually get to take a lot of pictures of favorite birds, but this guy really settled into the feeder today and he didn’t flutter off the moment I had the camera up and ready. That’s not entirely true. He flew off a few times into the tree, cracked open some seeds, then came back to the feeder. Sometimes, it just takes patience. And waiting!

The following four pictures were taken from wildlife groups.

Before everyone points out that this bird has a red head and not a red belly, I know that. But there already is a Red-headed Woodpecker who looks a lot like this guy, but his entire head is solid red, not to mention the Pileated Woodpecker who has a red topknot and is about the size of a medium-gauge hawk and a beak you wouldn’t want to mess with. I’m pretty sure he’s the bird the creators of Woody Woodpecker had in mind.

The following are pictures I took this morning. Even though this bird looks (to me) as if he has an orange rather than a red head, I have been assured that he is a Red-bellied Woodpecker and not a Gold-fronted Woodpecker.

The only difference between the two is the color of their head. Worse, they live in the same parts of the country.

However, this is quite a thin bird and I’m pretty sure he’s recently fledged so possibly has not fully developed his colors yet.